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0225 Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1
Cathay and the Way Thither : vol.1 / Page 225 (Grayscale High Resolution Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000042
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emperor during the chase has been thrown by one of the horses sent by His Majesty Shah Rukh, which he was riding. He is tremendously enraged at this mishap, and has ordered the ambassadors to be put in irons and sent off to the eastern provinces of Cathay.' The envoys, deeply disturbed at the intelligence, got on their horses again at morning prayer-time. By the time half the forenoon was past they had ridden some twenty marrah,' and reached the camp where the emperor had spent the night. This occupied an area of some five hundred feet square, round which they had built that same night a wall of four feet in thickness and ten cubits high. Such walls, built of pisé, are erected in Cathay with extraordinary celerity. There were two gates left in it, and at the foot of the wall there was a ditch from which the earth had been dug for it. ... Inside there was a pavilion of yellow satin, and an awning adorned with gems. Each of these was some twenty-five cubits square, and was supported by four pillars. All round were ,other tents of yellow satin embroidered with gold.

" When the ambassadors had arrived within five hundred paces of the imperial camp, His Worship the Kazi told them to dismount and stop where they were till the emperor should appear, whilst he himself went on. As soon as the emperor had returned to camp and dismounted, the Li-daji and the Jdn-daji (who in the Cathayan tongue are called Serai-lid and Jikfû) came and stood before him. The emperor then discussed the question of arresting the ambassadors. The Li-daji, the Jecn-daji, and His Worship Yusuf the Kazi bowed their foreheads to the ground, and said: `The envoys are in no way to blame. Their princes send good horses as presents doubtless, when they can meet with such ; but in any case these persons have no authority over their sovereigns. If your Majesty has the envoys cut in pieces it won't hurt their kings, but the name of the emperor will be evil spoken of. People will not fail to say that the Emperor of China has used violence to ambassadors contrary to all the rules of justice.' The emperor took these judicious remonstrances in good part. His Worship the Kazi came in great glee to tell this news to the ambassadors, saying : ' The Most High has shown his mercy to these foreigners.' The emperor having thus decided on a merciful course, the dishes which he had sent were placed before the envoys; but as they consisted of swines' flesh and mutton the Musulmans declined to partake of them. The emperor then started, mounted

' In a previous passage it is said that " every sixteen marrah make a farsang" (or nearly three miles and a half). Astley's version has six to a farsang. The former estimate reduces the distance ridden in half the forenoon to less than five miles. The word marrah is perhaps that which Clavijo called molé, but he applies it to Timur's leagues, "equal to two leagues of Castille" (p. 106). This last definition, however, corresponds with that which Ssanang Ssetzen gives of the Bärä, probably the sane word. This makes it 16,000 ells, which will be about six miles, taking the ell at two feet (see Schmidt, p. 5).